Kobe Bryant 30,000 Points
Mozart wrote music, Pele scored goals, Shakespeare wrote and Einstein thought.
Kobe scores points.
In this context, it's not hyperbolic to compare Kobe Bean Bryant to the best that ever did what they did, and when he scored the 30,000th point of his illustrious NBA career on Wednesday night against the Hornets, he proved it.
At 34 years and 104 days of age, Kobe became the youngest player in league history to hit the 30K, joining Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) as one of five players to reach that milestone.
"It’s a huge honor, to say the least," said Bryant earlier this week. "Whenever you hear those kinds of names, you think about the amount of players that have played this game, and then to be in that kind of company, it’s always extremely, extremely special."
Four of those five players wore purple and gold at one point of their careers; the only guy not to was Bryant's scoring idol, MJ.
"This is a franchise that, like I said in the past, guys whose jerseys hang in the rafters are some of the all-time greats, not just greats for the franchise," Bryant explained. "I don’t know if there’s any organization that can say that."
Bryant's proven himself as more than a scorer, of course, and has tape from five championship victories to show varying contributions on defense, in playmaking for teammates when necessary and so on. But at his nature, he's a scoring demon, a player who seemingly created to make the ball go through the basket.
But could he have ever imagined it going through so many times from the field, from the free throw line, to reach 30,000 points?
"When I was a kid, the only thing I looked at was the ring count because that was the thing that was most important," he revealed. "I knew how many Magic (Johnson) had, I knew how many Larry (Bird) had, I knew how many Doc (Julius Erving) had. Those are the things I looked at the most – teams that won, teams that were successful. I never really knew this person had this many thousand points, this person had this many thousand points."
Now in his 17th season, Kobe hasn't slowed down. He's averaging 27.9 points per contest to lead the NBA, matching last season's production as the most he's totaled since 2007-08 (28.3).
Bryant's most prolific scoring seasons came in 2005-06 and 2006-07, when he won back-to-back scoring titles behind averages of 35.4 and 31.6 points, respectively.
The son of an NBA player's most notable individual scoring game came on Jan. 22, 2006 against Toronto, when he exploded for 81 points, the second-highest scoring game in league history behind Wilt's 100-pointer.
Speaking of Chamberlain … the giant had streaks of 10 and 14 games (twice) of scoring at least 40 points. Bryant nearly matched that with a streak of nine consecutive 40-point games during the 2002-03 season. Kobe also ranks fifth all-time in career 30-point games (392), and holds franchise record for most 40-plus point games in a season with 27 during the 2005-06 campaign. He's posted 114 games of 40-plus points, most recently on Sunday against Orlando.
In the 2006-07 season, the Black Mamba scored 50-plus in four straight contests, becoming the second player in NBA history to do so (you'll be shocked to hear that Wilt was the other) and finished the season with 10 50-plus point games.
Then there's the 60-point mark, one Kobe has reached five times: twice in March of 2007 (during a streak in which he had at least 50 in four straight games), on Dec. 20, 2005, when he had 62 in three quarters against Dallas, and most recently 61 at New York on Feb. 2, 2009.
You don't need another "death and taxes" metaphor for Bryant's scoring at this point. It's simple, really: the art of scoring the basketball is something he's mastered like only the greatest to ever do it.
And he's not done.